Fumbling through my wallet today I realized I don’t have any pictures in it. Not of my wife. Not of my kids. Not at all. That struck me as being a bit unusual. Wasn’t there a time before smart phones where we used to lug around pictures of the important people in our lives on the off chance we might meet someone interested in seeing what they look like? That seems to be something from long ago and far away right next to going out Saturday night to a club and not having to pass through a metal detector first or watching a double feature at the drive-in.
A double feature of Lady Sings the Blues (good movie) and Mahogany (awful movie) is how I met the lady of the last 32 years of my life. We were sitting in the front seat of the green Chevy station wagon I shared with my father while cooling in the back seat was Vanessa’s best friend, Sherry. It seems odd I ended up with Vanessa because I was hot for Sherry. However, Sherry had a rule. She didn’t screw her friends and that’s what I was. Vanessa seemed like she was going to be the back-up plan.
More fool me. When this gorgeous, sexy, smart and sassy woman came into my life there was no question and no doubt I had found the one person I wanted to share the rest of my life with.
From that first date, we began a romance that spanned a five-year courtship followed by a marriage that has endured 32 years, produced two children and me realize how meaningless our plans are when God has his own plan for us.
I like to joke that 32 years of marriage is more time than some killers get. At least I like to make Vanessa think I’m joking. Truth is, I couldn’t have made a smarter decision than the one I made to marry this beautiful, incredible woman. Can’t say I’ve never had any second thoughts because I have. And third, fourth and fifth thoughts as well, but no matter what life is with her, life without her would be unthinkable. Besides any woman who can put up with all the twists and turns, ups and downs and my mood swings deserves a shout-out.
And of course I put up with hers as well. That’s what we’re supposed to do. That’s what old, all grown-up married folks specialize in. Putting up with each other’s crap.
Today is Vanessa’s birthday and of course I’m too much of a gentleman to say what number this one is. Let’s just say it’s been a long time since she’s been “carded” when she’s ordered a drink and leave it at that.
Happy Birthday, Vanessa, My Lady and My Love. I couldn’t do it without you and I hope I never have to.
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. ~Mignon McLaughlin